Mama’s got a squeeze box / She wears on her chest / And when Daddy comes home / He never gets no rest – The Who
No one could have convinced me 17 months ago that having cancer brings some perks to your life. Back then all cancer seemed to me was scary, expensive, time-consuming and painful. Thinking about it, I wonder even of myself, what was it that was motivating me to go on at all? Sheer survival mode, I guess. Feeling as vulnerable as I did, I suppose my answer was to fake it til I made it.
Along the way, as I checked off 3 horrible rounds of chemo, then started dealing with all the bills from previous bad insurance, got through changing my insurance with the help of friend and co-grandma Bonnie, had my surgery, secure in the knowledge it wasn’t putting me in debtor’s prison while it attempted to eradicate the cancer, then had 5 more rounds of chemo, so much better than the first 3, and finally prepared for breast cancer treatments.
Little did I know how much more pleasant the cancer journey would become.
Seems like in this world, once you have breast cancer, you’re special. Now, before I get women angry, I think you should be special – but with any cancer. I get it, breast cancer is the most common women’s cancer. But ovarian cancer is the #1 killer of all women’s gynecological cancers. (Breast cancer isn’t a gynecological cancer. Those are, ovarian, cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.) You get pitying looks, but not ribbons, massages, facials, runs, walks, or the like. Well, maybe some walks, but now you’re talking you have to exercise. How about a massage? There is a month dedicated for it though–September. And the color for the ribbon is teal. Just so you know. But if you have a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which some argue isn’t even cancer, puts you in a league of pink, and boy, did I not know how powerful pink is. Now I used to sell Mary Kay where the joke was, “How do you spell money? P-I-N-K.”, referring to the pink Cadillacs of yore. But pairing pink with money pales in comparison to pairing pink with breasts.
So, after a year of dealing with ovarian cancer, and not one freebie for anything
thrown my way because of it, now because of breast cancer, I got two facials and a massage during October. Then, because I needed radiation, and silly me, I tried to get out of it, I’m getting a free weekly massage as part of a special program at my hospital to see the effect of alternative treatments on cancer patients. Well, who gets radiation? Not ovarian cancer patients (rarely), but breast cancer patients. (And of course, many other types of cancer, and I wish them all well, but I’m sure they’re feeling ignored, too, because they are not PINK, but at least at my hospital, they’re eligible for this masssage program.)
Now some might argue, who cares how the free stuff came to be, and don’t get me wrong, I’m lovin’ every single minute of my massages–next one’s Friday! I’m a girl who likes being pampered. But, it does show you the power that
sex breasts have in our society and the money behind the cancerous ones.
Makes you wonder why we can’t do better than being squashed, poisoned, chopped up and burned in their treatment. Or why lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and lung cancer (top killers of people of any diseases), don’t get equal footing.
True, lungs are decidedly un-sexy, but pretty important, but the heart? Come on, not only the most vital organ, but the heart as a symbol–this should be rakin’ in the dough. And by the way, November is lung cancer awareness month and the ribbon is pearl or clear colored, which it shares with pancreatic cancer-its color is purple. This month is heart disease month, and as you might imagine, the ribbon is red.
Isn’t your heart in your chest too? Just sayin’…..